WS Atkins rocked by shaky building

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The Independent Online

WS Atkins is struggling at home as the UK's shaky construction market and delayed rail contracts eat into revenues.

The design and engineering giant, whose current projects include the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Alcatraz prison, saw UK sales, accounting for nearly half of the group total, slide 7 per cent to £860m and profits down 16 per cent in the year to 31 March.

Atkins blamed "difficult" market conditions in the UK due to public spending cuts and a tough year for its rail arm as Network Rail was slow to bring major signalling deals to the market. The highways arm had a better year, winning major projects from the Highways Agency.

Overall pre-tax profits edged 1 per cent lower to £101.6m but the firm left guidance for the year unchanged and upped the dividend by 5.2 per cent.